Ross Taylor © Getty Images
By Abhijit Banare
Jan 31, 2014
Ross Taylor‘s consecutive One-Day International (ODI) ton (his 10th overall) and Kane Williamson‘s 88 helped New Zealand post 303 for five in the fifth ODI against India at Wellington on Friday.
The momentum of the match was set in a similar way as it was in the previous matches. New Zealand openers gave a sedate start before perishing, and rest of the show managed by Williamson and a solid partnership of 152 runs with Taylor. The Indian pacers who came under some attack from their skipper itself performed well at the start. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami were right on target. Shami bowled three maidens in his first five overs, This gives an indication how well the pacers were. Bhuvneshwar from the other end made good use of the conditions to swing the ball and keep the batsmen on their toes. Bhuvneshwar was finally rewarded when Jesse Ryder slashed at a delivery moving away from him and was caught in the slips by Ajinkya Rahane who fumbled but managed to latch on to it.
Few overs later, it was Guptill who was getting in his groove when he mistimed a shot landed in to the hands of Shami at mid-on. Varun Aaron took the wicket of Guptill after dropping him earlier. The performance of the pacers allowed Dhoni to persist with fast bowling for few more overs. That was the last of the cheerful part for India for most part of the innings.
Williamson and Taylor were watchful till the 20th over. From thereon, the spinners toiled hard but only found a confident Williamson stepping out and launching the ball over cover and extra-cover. It has been a strategy adopted by the Kiwis not to lose too many wickets and they have implemented it effectively throughout the series. The moved along with the singles and twos along with the occasional boundaries.
Williamson completed his half-century in the 30th over. It was his fifth consecutive half-century and became the second player after Yasir Hamid to score a fifty in each of the five-match ODI series. But the difference is, Hamid had a century as well in the series, but it remained elusive for Williamson. His confidence did him in when he tried to cheekily cut one over point and was brilliantly caught by Rahane for 88. One of the remarkable moment of Williamson was the late upper-cut off Buvneshwar Kumar in the 37th over. The 152-run partnership once again set the platform for the Kiwis to accelerate towards the end. Taylor though continued his onslaught.
Williamson has managed to break a few records after this innings. He is the highest scorer in a bilateral series for New Zealand and the first to score five fifties in a bilateral series. He is the fourth New Zealand player to score five fifties in a row.
Skipper Brendon McCullum came at No 5 and scored a small cameo of 23 from 18 balls and shared a 50-run partnership with Taylor. He was dismissed by Virat Kohli. A small but vital contribution was made by Kohli whose dibbly-dobbly bowling slowed down the pace of scoring. Dhoni deliberately asked him to bowl slower than usual so that the well-set batsmen find it difficult to hit through the line.
James Neesham played the supporting role to Taylor who looked well on course for a ton. Taylor completed his ton in the 48th over and celebrated in his trademark style of raising the arms and getting the tongue out with a wry smile.
Neesham finished off the innings with a few big hits to take them past 300.
New Zealand 303 for 5 in 50 overs (Kane Williamson 88, Ross Taylor 102; Varun Aaron 2 for 60) vs India.
(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)